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Wyoming Wildflowers

1 Jul

As my birthday gift, my incredibly busy farmer husband took an afternoon off to take Ella and I for a drive. We drove up to Esterbrook (a little community of summer cabins) and back around Laramie Peak. It was beautiful and we even found a little spot to have a picnic by a creek. It made me nostalgic for the summers I spent at my Grandpa’s cabin in the high elevations of southern Colorado.

Much to my delight, the wildflowers were blooming away! My mom gave me the book “Wildflowers of Wyoming” by Diantha and Jack States two years ago for my birthday and I finally put it to good use. This book is so great for a novice because it has a color guide in the front. I did my best to identify these flowers, but if anyone has more knowledge and sees that I’ve make a mistake (or has a more specific identification) feel free to comment and help us all learn!

And one more thing. Before any of you go teasing me about these being “weeds” not “flowers”, I get it. I’m a rancher’s granddaughter. Grandpa Jim would tell me that locoweed is a dangerous plant, not a pretty flower. But, my definition (as taught to me by my agroecology professor, Dr. Wilson) is “a plant out of place.” And these plants were right where I needed them to be to lift my spirits…so that’s no weed.

Beardtongue | The Farm Paparazzi

Beardtongue (Penstemon)

Bluebell | The Farm Paparazzi

Bluebell

Fleabane Daisy | The Farm Paparazzi

This one I wasn’t quite sure of…my best guess was fleabane daisy…

Nuttall's Evening Primrose | The Farm Paparazzi

Nuttall’s Evening Primrose

Common Harebell | The Farm Paparazzi

Common Harebell

Lambert's Locoweed | The Farm Paparazzi

Lambert’s Locoweed

Silvery Lupine | The Farm Paparazzi

Silvery Lupine

Wild Vetch | The Farm Paparazzi

Wild Vetch

Wild Rose | The Farm Paparazzi

Wild Rose

Wild Geranium | The Farm Paparazzi

Wild Geranium

Richardson's Geranium | The Farm Paparazzi

Richardson’s Geranium

Indian Paintbrush | The Farm Paparazzi

Indian Paintbrush

But the best flowers I saw on the entire trip were these beautiful gifts from God!

Ella and Black Eyed Susans | The Farm Paparazzi

Ella (holding Black Eyed Susans) and Tyler

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

From My Head Tomatoes

16 Aug

I saw a shirt on Pinterest that said, “I love Gardening From My Head Tomatoes”. I love clever people!

We’ve had quite a successful garden again this year. It was a rough start, but now we’re rockin and rollin! Here’s how the progress went:

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

May 27

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

June 25. Watering with water trailer and sprinkler.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

June 30. Irrigating with gated pipe.

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 2

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 10

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Sweet corn on May 27

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

June 25

Soaking Up the Sun | The Farm Paparazzi

July 13

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Tassel coming out on the sweet corn

Now it’s all about the harvesting. We’ve been blessed by God’s bounty and have been enjoying and sharing snow peas, tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, green chilies, yellow onions, zucchini, crookneck squash, red beets, pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers and sweet corn. The pumpkins are also coming along!

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Our daily harvest started out small.

With all the harvesting comes a lot of preserving. I’ve canned a batch of spicy dill pickles, frozen green beans and other veggies, and have got some relish “stewing” as I type. I’ve got more pickles, sweet corn and peaches from Utah waiting in the wings. Click here for a recipe on “putting up” or freezing sweet corn.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

But, the daily harvest quickly grew and grew!

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

Cutting up a beautiful cabbage for Cabbage Burgers! Get the recipe at https://farmpaparazzi.com/2014/08/09/cabbage-burgers/.

We decided to try selling sweet corn at our little local farmer’s market this year. So we planted that big swath I showed you earlier and have peddled the good stuff the last two weekends. There are great people organizing, vending and attending this community affair! I enjoyed it more than I imagined I would.

From My Head Tomatoes | The Farm Paparazzi

It’s only August 16, so that means I’ve still got lots of harvesting and preserving to attend to. In fact, I better get off my rump and get out to the garden soon. It’s time for another hour or two of picking!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. – Psalm 67:6

 

Sharing is Caring

28 Aug

When I look around my yard and garden at my house, I’ve noticed a trend. Most of what I have planted was given to me.

Here’s the iris my mom gave me about four or five years ago.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziThe tulip and daffodil bulbs given as a shower gift by my Aunt Patty.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm Paparazzi

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziThere’s the strawberries and raspberries kindly shared by a church friend this spring.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm Paparazzi

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziRight next to it, my friend, Bonnie, gave me some rhubarb to transplant earlier this year.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziShe also gave me the seeds that grew into these beautiful hollyhocks in the back yard.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziWhat an example all these women have set; to give generously from what God has provided. I pray all these beautiful plants will serve as a reminder to share with others in return.

Sharing is Caring | The Farm PaparazziGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

Freezing Green Beans

18 Aug

Last year, before trying my own hand at gardening, my friend Melinda shared loads of veggies and herbs out of her beautiful garden.

IMG_0509

Freezing Corn IX | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans XIVShe shared lots of delicious, fresh green beans. We ate many of them fresh, but I also froze some of them. This year, my garden is exploding with green beans so I’m freezing some again. It’s an easy process and there’s a great set of instructions here.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziHere’s how I do it…First, start a pot of water to boil on the stove. Put the lid on the pot so it gets hot faster. While the water gets to boiling, sort through the beans and toss any that didn’t look so great.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThen trim off the ends. You can cut them with a knife or snap them off with your fingers.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziFill a large bowl with ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziLower the beans into the boiling water in batches.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziCook them for a few minutes, until they turn a beautiful bright green. Then throw them into the ice water.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziThis process is called “blanching”. You dunk the beans in hot water for a few minutes to kill any bacteria and soften them slightly, then the ice water is used to “shock” them to stop the cooking process.

After they’ve cooled, fish them out of the ice water and drain them. I also pat them dry with paper towels.

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziOnce all your beans are blanched, cooled and drained, it’s time to store them. You can put them in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and freeze. I have a food saver, so I use that.

Freezing Green Beans XII

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm Paparazzi

Freezing Green Beans | The Farm PaparazziVoila! Delicious garden green beans. These serve as a reminder during those long, Wyoming, winter months that summer will eventually come around again. Even if it seems so, so far away.

Freezing Green Beans XVGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.

“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! – Matthew 14:15-21 (NLT)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

5 Aug

One year when my Aunt Patty was in 4-H, her gardening record book won a national award and she earned a trip to Chicago. Pretty good for a girl from little Chugwater (pop. approx. 250).

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziThe way my mom tells the story, Patty’s winning secret was her sense of humor. When asked to describe how she planted her garden, she said she did so in alphabetical order. That way, the Weeds were last!

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziThis year was my first year planting a vegetable garden. My college roommates will laugh when they see how good it looks! I had a definite black thumb back then. Couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive.

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm Paparazzi

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziBut, marrying a farmer sure paid off, because look how my garden grows! It’s been a team effort between my Farmer Husband and I. It’s a true Farm Wife garden. The rows were bedded, strip tilled and are irrigated with gated pipe!

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm Paparazzi

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziAfter a replant situation due to tiny, white worms eating most of the seed, we’ve had good weather and everything is growing great. Tyler tells me the secret is plenty of water, hoeing regularly to keep the weeds down (those suckers grow FAST), and applying fertilizer at the right time. It also helps when it doesn’t hail (fingers crossed!).

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziAlready we’ve been eating spinach, lettuce, red beets, cabbage, green onions, snowpeas, a couple tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini and yellow squash. It’s so fun to bring things directly from the garden into the kitchen to eat. The tomatoes, sweet peppers, green chilies and beans and cucumbers are *this close* to being ready. The sweet corn is tassled and silking and the pumpkins are filling up with lots of little guys.

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm Paparazzi

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziDo you garden? What’s your secret to success? What’s your favorite thing to grow? I’d love to hear from you!

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm Paparazzi

How Does Your Garden Grow? | The Farm PaparazziGod Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – Ephesians 3:20

Sunflowers

17 Aug

When I searched for sunflowers on Google, there were about 12 million hits, so I’m assuming there are probably about 20 million or more images out there. I just don’t think that’s enough. Let’s make it 20,000,004.

I have a split personality when it comes to sunflowers. I love them! They are so pretty and cheery and make me smile.

Sunflowers I | The Farm Paparazzi

But, I also curse them. They are a terrible, invasive weed species and really cause problems for farmers.

Sunflowers II | The Farm Paparazzi

I’m talking about the Common Sunflower.

WEED NERD ALERT! WEED NERD ALERT! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

According to “Weeds of the West” from the Western Society of Weed Science, “the common sunflower is an annual that grows 1-10 feet tall. Native to North America, the sunflower has been cultivated since pre-Columbian times for its edible seeds. They are a common weed of roadsides, fence rows, fields, pastures and waste areas. Flowering is from July to September.”  In my book the “sunflower family” spans 154 pages.

Sunflowers III | The Farm Paparazzi

Oh, well. I guess we’ll spray them where we don’t want them and enjoy them where we can.

Sunflowers IV | The Farm Paparazzi

One of Tyler & I’s engagement pictures from 2010 by a great friend, Heather. She got married herself in July! Visit her at doublehphoto.blogspot.com

Have a bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day!

God Bless You & American Agriculture,

Liz

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)

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